Search ads by make

Previous Features

Mysterious Minerva from Saxony

Mysterious Minerva from Saxony

In the 1920s, the bulk of imported cars came from U.S. manufacturers, many of which had production lines of their own in Germany. The share of Italian automobiles was also quite impressive at that time, especially....

Fiat managed to sell large numbers of their mass-produced models already early after WW1. Among the French brands only Citroen was able to market considerable numbers of their cars on the right bank of the river Rhine, not the least due to having a factory in Cologne since 1927.

As for Belgian motorcars, Metallurgique was rather successful on the German market before WW1, since the Bergmann Elektrizitätswerke in Berlin built their models under licence. I have quite a number of photos in my collection showing Bergmann-Metallurgique cars with their distinctive radiators on German roads.

However, over the years I was able to find only one photo featuring a vehicle from the Belgian carmaker Minerva with a German registration which I would like to share with you.

I am pretty sure it's a Minerva, as the distinctive badge showing the helmeted head of the goddess can be regognized on the radiator, even if the print is a bit blurry. Also, the shape of the radiator is consistent with a Minerva from the early 1920s, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, I was not able to identify the exact model of this rather bulky looking phaeton. Maybe, the five louvres in the engine hood and the two prominent handles on either side provide a clue. Another interesting feature is the housing of the hood at the rear end of the car - a very "clean" solution (maybe not ideal, if the hood is still damp...).

The number plate suggests a registration in the area around the town of Leipzig in Saxony (eastern Germany). As for the location, the village in the background points to a place somewhere in the South-East of the German-speaking region (including parts of the former Hungaro-Austrian empire).

So, if someone would be able to identify the type of this (presumed) Minerva, that would be great. Any ideas regarding the location where this beautiful shot was made roughly 90 years ago are also highly appreciated.

Words and pictures: Michael Schlenger



#11 2017-05-17 16:49
I agree with Steve Diggins that the impressive bonnet probably conceals just a conventional 4-cylinder small-capacity engine. The bonnet appears to cover the whole section in front of the windscreen, probably with the intention to pretend the existence of a larger engine bay.

As for the suggestion that the vehicle could have been built by Brennabor (Germany's largest car producer shortly after WW1, by the way), I have my doubts.

At first glance, there is some stylistic resemblance to Brennabors of the early 1920s, e.g. the S-Type. Yet the car in the photo lacks any detail typical for the Brennabors of that time.

I still believe it's a special-bodied car from one of the many smaller German marques of which often not even a single photo exists in the relevant literature.
#10 2017-05-17 15:43
Maybe a Brennabor? I don´t know why, but that was my first thought!?
#9 2017-05-17 09:11
I'd like to throw Brennabor into the pot - they seemed to go for this sort of high sided design
#8 2017-05-17 03:29
This could be a custom bodied car with an over sized body to make it look more substantial than it really is. Look at how low the people are sitting. Also note the very light springs.It wouldn't surprise me if there is a small flat head four cylinder engine under that tall bonnet.The rad shell could be from something else and modified to suit.
#7 2017-05-16 16:52

Many thanks for your useful responses. I had already my doubts concerning this "Minerva" despite the distinctive badge on the radiator. So I can at least ditch this idea.

But what else could it be? I would definitely rule out Mathis, since the radiator doesn't look Mathis-like, at all.

I think Bill Sides is right with his suspicion that it could be a car from a German manufacturer.

But even after browsing through my collection of photos and advertisements featuring cars from lesser known German marques like Beckmann, Dixi, Falcon, Ley etc., I couldn't find a match.

So let's hope that this awkward-looking body with its high waistline rings a bell with someone, sooner or later.

Best regards

P.S. I am also going to post my photos of Metallurgique cars in the near future, so stay tuned, Gillet!
#6 Fer Cools 2017-05-15 18:58
There are boat houses on the picture so there must be a lake.
#5 2017-05-15 18:31
Dear Michael,

I dont think this car is a Minerva. The Minerva emblem was not placed on the radiator,but on the radiator shell. And the shape is not Minerva eighter. The badge could be Minerva, but that is it.
After ww I they had no wooden wheels anymore. I'm interested in the Metalurgique pictures.
#4 2017-05-15 16:43
Although the setting gives a village like impression, I would suggest that due to the construction and landscape that this is an urban boundary area.
#3 2017-05-15 14:57
The occupants appear to be wearing some sort of uniform, perhaps identifying that would help in identifying the car
#2 2017-05-15 06:16
It is no Minerva.

Add comment